Friday, April 6, 2018

President's Message April 2018

PRESIDENTS MESSAGE       April, 2018            by Jim Buelow

Hello Dogwood Friends, hope all is well with all of you. It is hard to believe it is already April and hopefully Spring is here to stay.
 Susan and I have been on the road for most of the past 3 months and really enjoyed our trips. We spent 2 months in FL in the Cocoa Beach/Titusville area. We returned home on February 25th, did a short turn around, and headed for the FMCA Convention in Perry, GA. From Perry to Myrtle Beach for 5 days, then to Havelock, NC for our great grandsons birthday party, and back home to reality on March 25th. Highlights included: a special briefing and private tour of the of Cape Canaveral compliments of our daughter who was conducting a Teachers Conference there, viewing 2 space launches, relaxing on the beach, a casino cruise, attending the Dogwood Rally at TGO, collecting 16 shoe sized totes of sea shells (yes 16), attending our first FMCA Convention, and spending time with Dogwood and new friends we met along the way. It was a great trip and we look forward to traveling again soon. Now for a little Dogwood business.  
Jim & Bonnie Spain
David & Nanette Meyer
First, our chapter is growing. Please welcome new members Dave and Nanette Meyer and Jim and Bonnie Spain. Dave and Nanette are friends if ours and attended the Christmas rally. They liked what they saw and joined in
February. Dave and Nanette are a retired USAF family and reside in Yorktown,VA. Jim and Bonnie attended the TGO rally in FL as friends and guests of the Sohles. They also liked what they saw and also joined in February. Jim and Bonnie winter at TGO and spend summers in their home on Powatan, VA. They have known and have been friends of the Greenwoods and Tilmans for several years. Welcome Dave and Nanette, and Jim and Bonnie. We look forward to seeing you at future Dogwood rallies.
As all of you know, FMCA now accepts all self contained RVs into our organization, and the National By-Laws have been updated to reflect that change. At the chapter level, we still have the option to restrict our chapter to only motor homes, or to allow all RVs into our chapter. This will require a vote of chapter members. In the June time frame, we will send a ballot out to all members to decide on whether to continue as we are or change to allow all RVs into Dogwood. Please be thinking about this and be sure to vote when you receive the ballot.
This is an election year for our chapter officers. I know it's a bit early in the year, but we need to start thinking about it. I will query all current officers in the next few months to see who may or may not be interested in staying on for another term, and let Buck Buchanan know, as he is the Nominating Committee Chairman. We are also in need of a new member for our nominating committee as one member has dropped out. We will elect a new one at our next rally in May. Please consider stepping up to serve your chapter. Buck and his team may say, “I WANT YOU”.
As we move through the year, we have some interesting and fun rallies coming up, the first of those next month in Kentucky. More info on those rallies is included in Donna Hills Rally Master report. Please join in on the fun and support our rallies. And thanks for all you do to make Dogwood the great chapter that it is.
Regards and SAFE Travels,


Treasurer's Report April 2018

Treasurer's Report April 2018

On Sat, Mar 24, 2018 at 2:54 PM Pat Allen wrote:
Bal on treasury is $2,394.98. Need to make $25 donations for Liz Jones & dykes daughter, Brenda Berry. Steve Hall & Bardeau  paid 2018 dues.

Minutes of December 2017 Business Meeting

Secretary's Report, December 2017 Business Meeting 

The business meeting for the December Dogwood Rally held at Americamps RV Resort was called to order on 12/02/17 at 10:30 a.m. by President Jim Buelow.  
Attendees were: Alexander, Allen, Bonewitz, Buchanan, Buelow, Cockrell, Cohen, Cummings, Fisher, Greene, Greenwood, Herbert, Hill, Hunter, Kuiken, Meyer, Moore, Phillips, Rasmussen, Saul, Schoolar, Thorpe and Tillman’s.
President Buelow thanked the Executive staff for hosting the rally. 
Your 2018 dues of $10 are due, please pay them to Pat as soon as possible. 
Old Business:
  • FMCA Remodel vote passed, 10,000 total votes 7,000 approved to allow all RV types and 3,000 disapproved. It will be up to individual chapters to decide if they want to allow all RV types. Our bylaws will need to be changed if we decide to allow all RV types.  The FMCA catalog will list if a chapter allows all RV types.  
  • New forms, bylaws and Dogwood flyer are now on the Blog site.
  • Tee shirt and sweatshirt orders were a success. If you would like to order more contact Jim Buelow.  Also, for $6 you can have the logo put on any item of clothing you purchase.  
  • Mirror covers – Cil Schoolar may have someone to make them for us.
  • Name tags – See our Blog for form to order name badges.
  • The Dogwoods won 2nd place in the Chapter Fair at the GEAR Rally in Lewisburg, WV  
  • Next year 2018 will be an election year for us. 

New Business:
  • We loss two members this year, Don Anderson and Wes Miller. Cards and monetary donations were sent for both.
  • Bobby & Barbara Dykes daughter is suffering from cancer.  A motion was made by Ed Fisher and seconded by Susan Buelow to make a $50 donation to the Dyke foundation.
Motion passed.
  • Paul asked members to review their information (phone #’s, addresses etc.) on the documents he is passing around.  Please make necessary changes if needed.  Once you have verified your information please initial by your name, so he knows you reviewed it.

Vice President of Rallies: Donna Hill asked members for volunteers to Host Rallies for 2018. See below for the tentative schedule:
  • February 20-22nd Host: Sohles & Jones – Florida TGO
  • March 15-18th FMCA's International Convention - Perry, GA
  • May 15-17th Host: Bonewitz, Schoolar & Alexander - Bourbon Trail
  • June 1-2nd Host: Fishers – VIR
  • July 18-25th FMCA Rally - Gillette, WY
  • August 28th – Sept? Host: Bonewitz & Alexander - Boothbay Harbor, Maine
  • Oct. 3-7th GEAR Rally
  • Nov. 2-4th Host: Alexander & Fishers - Urbanna Oyster Festival
  • Dec. 1-3rd Host: Herbert, Kuiken & Thorpe – American Heritage Williamsburg VA
(Members were torn between having our Christmas Rally at Americamps or American Heritage in Williamsburg. Jim Buelow made the motion that was seconded by Richard Bonewitz that members vote where they wanted to go.  First vote was a tie but after a revote the majority voted to have our December Rally at American Heritage in Williamsburg.)
Donna presented Dogwood Host Rally pins to members that hosted rallies in 2017.
Paul Cummings asked members to please stay after the meeting, he wants to go over how to navigate the Dogwood blog, so everyone will be familiar with it. 
Meeting adjourned at 11:39 am. 
​Submitted by Pam Phillips, Secretary 

Donna Hill, Rally Report April 2018

Rally Report:

Dogwood started 2018 off rallying well. We had our first Florida rally in February, thanks to the Sohles and Jones. Several of us made it to the FMCA International Convention in Perry, GA which had lots for everyone and super entertainment. (A summary of both are below.)

Now for a list of what's ahead...Let's Rally!
19-25 MAY - KY Bourbon Trail (Bonewitzs, Schoolars, Alexanders), details below.
1-2 JUN - Virginia International Raceway (Fishers), details below.
18-21 JUL - FMCA International Rally in Gillette, WY
28 AUG-5 SEP - Booth Bay, ME (Bonewitzs, Alexanders)
3-7 OCT - GEAR in York, PA
2-4 NOV - Oyster Festival Urbana, VA (Alexanders)
30 NOV- 2 DEC - Christmas Rally at American Heritage Campground in Williamsburg, VA (Herberts, Kuikens, Thorpes)

VIR Rally Update April 2018

VIR Rally Update June 2018

Dates: June 1, 2, and 3 (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)
Location: Virginia International Raceway 1245 Pine Tree Rd, Alton Virginia 24520
               Phone 434 822 7700
Cost: $50.00 per unit for camping the week end, plus $35.00 per person for 3 day admission. There is a $10.00 fee if you are towing a car. There will be no rally fee.

We plan to camp in the general camping area. The general camping area is defined as any unpaved space that is not otherwise reserved, and the general camping area encompasses most of the track property. I suggest we camp where we camped before. That is just inside the track, to the right of the North Paddock Road.

No reservations required. You purchase camping and admission tickets as you enter the gate. 

This will be dry camping.

The entertainment will be the races, and ourselves.

Bring your own food, and something to share if you desire. I assume most travel with a gas grille. We will set up several together and have a community cooking and eating area.

We are allowed in the afternoon of Thursday, May 31. If enough of us come in then, we should get very desirable camping spots. I will plan to do that.

No reservations are required, but we make an urgent request that you advise Ed Fisher at
804 370 4066 or Email at a for planning purposes.

Visit VIRNOW    

  Ed Fisher

TGO Rally 2018

TGO Rally Report


Our first ever Florida Dogwood Rally was held February 20 thru 22, 2018 at the Great Outdoors RV & Golf Resort in Titusville FL.

Steve & Sue Sohles and Butch & Liz Jones co-hosted this Rally for those who wanted to bring their coaches, as well as others who came to visit and join in meals and Happy Hours too.  

Attending with Coaches were Jim & Susan Buelow, Henry & Patty Keiken, Fairleigh & Cil Schoolar and Mike & Marcy Vreeland. Special thanks to the Keiken's for providing their tables and Coach awning for a shady seating area.  

Dogwoods also participating included Berkley & Karen Alexander, Clint & Pat Allen, Ed & Connie Tillman, Jim Martin & Amy Legare, Steve & Mary Hall (currently staying at TGO), Carl & Donna Gruel (TGO residents now). 

Also joining in were Jim & Nancy Prevatt (guest of the Tillmans) and Jim & Bonnie Spain (guests of the Sohles). The Spains joined Dogwood at the end of the rally, so please welcome these new members. 

Tuesday night was another enticing Dogwood pot luck, attended by 20, with lots of delicious contributions. How these meals come together with so many good dishes and treats is a wonder. Many thanks to the Jones for generously opening their home for this event, and all enjoyed the evening. 

Wednesday night our group of 25 had dinner at TGO's Blue Heron restaurant, a short walk from the Rally Lot, where we enjoyed a private room and ordering off the menu. Of course, more visiting followed in the Rally Lot afterwards. 

Our Rally ended Thursday morning with doughnuts at the Rally Lot.

We were fortunate to have spectacular weather while spending time together, and adding to our many good memories in Dogwood. 

Steve & Sue Sohles 

TGO Rally Photos 2018

KY and Main Rally Update April 2018

Ky Bourbon Rally, June
On Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 2:14 PM Richard Bonewitz

Cummings Ferry 859-865-2003 Salvisa, KY. 
Bonewitz's are arriving 18 May and departing 27 May to take advantage of the $200 weekly rate. Attendees are: Phillips, Schoolar, Alexander, Buelow, Buchannan, Bonewitz. More space available.

Main Rally August-September
Booth Bay ME
Shore Hills Campground Booth Bay ME Attendees: 
Cummins, Tillman, Alexander, Greenwood, Allen, Bonewitz, Schoolar, Breland, Wolf, Wolfe, Sohles, Schultz, Buelow, Johnston. This is a great place to spend Labor Day, especially  if you have a low lobster warning light. IF You still want to go call 386-233-9154.

Care Person Report April 2018

CARE PERSON UPDATE       April 1, 2018                            by Susan Buelow

Hello Dogwood Friends,
Just wanted to update all of you on members and friends of the Dogwood family. 
Brenda Berry, daughter of Barbara and Bobby Dyke passed away March 1st in Huntington Beach, CA after a long 2 and one half year battle with cancer. Barbara, Bobby, and their son and daughter-in-law flew to CA for a Memorial/Celebration of Life on March 18th. Jim spoke with Barbara today. She said the trip and Celebration were hard on them, but all went OK and the Celebration on the beach with the surfers was very special. Bobby and Barbara are now back home and getting ready to sell their home and move to a smaller place which they bought in December. A card of sympathy was sent to the Dyke family, and a donation from Dogwood will be sent to a charity of their choice.
Butch & Liz Jones
Liz Jones passed away on March 16 in Titusville, FL. She had recently been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Jim spoke with Butch today and he is hanging in there. On March 31st, there was a Celebration of Life for Liz at the TGO pavilion. Butch said that 85 people including family and friends attended the celebration and that it was very nice. Butch is planning on staying in Florida, but is planning a trip to VA in May, and hopes to get together with friends while here. A card of sympathy was sent to the Jones family, and a donation from Dogwood will be sent to the Brevard County ASPCA.
Jean Franklin passed away in early February. Jean and her husband Buddy, who passed earlier, were former Dogwood members who were well liked by all who met them. Some of the old-timers may remember their converted bus with the rose on the side.
Please keep our lost members and friends and their families, along with others who are sick and suffering, in your thoughts and prayers.

FMCA Perry, GA 2018

Go to the link posted posted FMCA Perry Ga 2018 Video

Judy Czarsty & Jim

Bill & Garnetta Mallory, President of GEAR 2018

Bonnie and Jim Spain 

Paul & Lou & Marty Ott

FMCA Perry Ga, Rally 2018 Click this link to see the video on Youtube,

Safety Report

You Have Arrived Safely, Now What?
Campground Safety, That’s What

Butch Jones

We have been talking about several different areas involving safety as it pertains to motor homes and motor home travel but today we will address safety at the campground. This is an area that most of you are very familiar however; it might be good to refresh your memories. I am finding that I don’t know some things that I once did. 
We will start with some basics and then move into some areas that may not get attention as often. The first thing is getting the rig into the campground. This may sound simple and most of the time it is, but as our coaches get larger and out eyesight gets worse, the campgrounds and the campsites get smaller, at least by comparison. I have seen some fights that would have sold out an Ultimate Fighter bout, all over which way to turn the motorhome when backing into a campsite. While this may provide almost comic viewing for spectators it can be downright dangerous for the couple involved. Here are a few tips on RV parking:

  • Verify that your RV can get into the campground. Many campgrounds were built in the 1970s or early 1980s (some even before that) when the largest motorhome was 25 foot with no Slideouts. While the roads in most campgrounds are easy to navigate, there are still some that could be difficult to access due to hairpin turns and tight squeezes among boulders and trees. Some camping websites post caution notices to warn owners of longer rigs that they might want to consider another campground. If such warnings don't appear on the website and you have concerns, contact the campground directly and ask. The most common term is “Big Rig Friendly”. Most campground reservation websites provide details for each site, including its length. Check that the spot you've selected will accommodate both your tow vehicle and your trailer, or your motorhome, without sticking out into the road. Some reservation sites will also indicate low hanging tree branches or other obstructions. If you cannot reserve a specific site make sure the person taking the reservation knows the type, length, width with slides out and height of your coach.
Slide hit tree in campground

  • Check the campsite before you pull in. If you can do so without blocking traffic, get out and look the spot over. Scope out any objects or terrain that might pose hazards, such as drainage ditches, roadside markers, low hanging branches, posts, power, water hookups and fire pit rings. These same obstacles can prevent you from extending slide outs, so make sure you have clearance. Also, check to see if there are any especially low spots in the site that you'll want to avoid.
  • Have an assistant (spotter) to guide you in. No matter how skilled you think you are at backing into campsites, things will go a lot smoother with extra eyes watching. There's nothing worse than the embarrassing crunch of an RV bumper kissing a large rock or a picnic table. Your spotter can also make sure you've got the rig in straight and that you're completely out of the road. For easier communication, get yourself a pair of two-way radios so you and your assistant won't have to yell. If using radios, make sure you are both on the same channel, I know what you are thinking, but it has happened (two radios + two people + two different channels = 2 unhappy campers).  
  • For most RV drivers that have been behind the wheel for many years having help may not be necessary, however, having an extra pair of eyes to keep you from hitting something expensive could be helpful. 
  • When utilizing a spotter, make sure that the spotter knows what the driver expects. If the driver needs assistance in getting into position then the spotter should know this and act accordingly. However, if the driver only wants the spotter to alert the driver if he/she gets too close to a tree, bolder, picnic table or other object, then the spotter should know this as well. I actually watched a spotter backing a large motor home into a campsite pointing in both directions at the same time.  I later learned that the spotter thought that would mean come straight back, needless to say the driver did not have the same opinion of its meaning.  
  • That brings up another tip. Make sure that the driver and spotter are using and understanding the same signals and they both understand exactly where the driver wants the coach to stop.
  • If using a spotter, he/she must also understand how far the coach needs to be from trees, electrical boxes and sewer connections. The spotter must also know how far the Slideouts will extend so you do not have to crawl under the Slideout to make sewer and electric connections.
  • I also know of some couples that the lady backs the coach into the campsite and the man is the spotter. So use whatever works for your situation.
  • The spotter should remain on the job until the driver is content with the location and the coach is ready for set-up.

   When the coach is properly situated in the campsite, making the necessary leveling adjustments needs to be addressed. Making sure that your coach is level can be very easy or it could take some time. If you coach uses leveling jacks, the use of pads or ground plates can help prevent the jack bases from burying into the ground especially on wet ground or if a lot of rain is expected. When using ground plates try not to get completely under the coach. This is especially true if you coach has an air suspension, unless it is blocked to prevent the body from coming down if the air bags loose air. I know some of you will say that is not likely to happen but better safe than sorry. I have installed round end metal eyelets that screwed into the pads. This allowed me to use the awning release rod to maneuver the pads under the coach.
  After the coach is level, make sure that there is NOTHING that the Slideouts could come in contact with when being deployed. That tree that was a few feet away as you backed in may now be part of your dining area, if you did not consider the depth of the Slideout.  When dry camping, proper positioning of the coach is especially important.

  Making utility connections is another area that we sometimes take for granted. When making the electrical connection, testing the 30 or 50 amp outlet for proper installation can be done before making the connection if you have an external protection device or after if the device is hardwired into your coach.  This is important to make sure you have enough but not too much of the proper amperes and voltage coming into your coach and that the outlet is wired properly. 

  Being follically challenged (I made that up) myself; I have on more than one occasion had my head come in forceful contact with a Slideout corner. Once to the tune of 18 stitches, so I know a bit about this topic. As you may already know, Slideout edges and corners in particular can be very sharp. This is especially true when you run into or rise up into one. A solution that has worked for me is to use swim noodles. These are the Styrofoam tubes with a hole in the center. If you cut them to the desired length and cut a slit down one side they can be slipped over the edges and/or corners of the Slideouts. This will, if the colors are bright, call attention to the corner or edge. They will at least blunt the impact if struck by a body part.  
  Most of us may not venture into other countries that may have disease issues; however, it is not a bad idea to make sure that your vaccinations are up to date. Vaccinations can help protect against certain diseases and conditions while camping. Check with your doctor or nurse to see if you've had all of the recommended vaccines. He or she may recommend tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), meningitis, and/or hepatitis A, depending on your medical history, destination, and other factors. And don’t forget flu and pneumonia vaccinations as well.
  While on the subject of vaccinations, make sure your family pets are vaccinated and always keep a close eye on them. Check for ticks, and remove them promptly. Make sure pets have plenty of water, food, and shelter. Make sure that you have a copy of their medical records with you as some campgrounds want to see some certificates particularly rabies and kennel cough if there is a dog park at the campground.
  Mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects can cause certain diseases. To help fight the bite, apply insect repellent containing DEET to exposed skin. Be sure to follow directions on the package. Check for ticks daily, and remove them promptly. Wearing long sleeves, pants, and other light-colored clothing will help prevent and spot ticks more easily. Make sure your pets have taken their flea, tick and heartworm medications and you have enough for an extended trip.

  Always make sure that you carry a first aid kit in your coach. It can be basic or as complete as you feel comfortable with. Since we will be camping in various parts of the country, we need to remember that different parts of the country have varying levels of emergency medical care. Make sure to take enough of any special medications that you may need. Also remember to include your pet meds as well. So a bit of preparedness here may be prudent. We always carry Benadryl for Mitzi in case of a bee sting. 
  Living in Florida, we have become accustom to assuming that every body of water may have an alligator living in it. But when traveling to different parts of the country there may be local dangers that we are not aware. So read all signs that are posted at the campground, especially near water. Pay attention to all safety warnings. 
  Many campgrounds are located in or near wildlife areas (I am not talking about nightclubs and strip joints) and we must remember that it is illegal in most states to feed wildlife. This allows the animals to associate people with food and they will lose their natural fear and usually leads to problems with the animal on the losing end most often. When you see wildlife near the campground, take a picture, enjoy looking at it but keep you distance and leave it alone. 

Watch the weather when camping, check a weather app on your phone if you have one or check the weather channel or local news each night to see what the next day will bring. Weather can change quickly in some places. Make sure that your coach is secured for any anticipated change based upon weather reports and sometimes a “gut” feeling. If in doubt, pull in those awnings and secure any loose items before leaving the campground for the day.
  We all like a campfire on cool evenings but make sure that you only light camp fires in parks where it is permitted. Many national parks do not allow open fires. Extinguish fires whenever you leave your campsite unattended; use water, not sand (it retains heat and can cause severe burns).
  Sewer hoses are wonderful things. They allow us to use our own toilets and generally provide a fuss free dumping of waste. However, as at least one other (other than yours truly) member of Dogwood knows, we need to make sure that the hoses are in good condition, the couplings are secured to the hose and the coupling (and hose) secured to the tank drain outlet. It is hard to believe how much sewage can flow from the dump valve from the time the hose separates from the coupling and you can close the valve. It is not a pretty sight, trust me.

  Crime is not usually rampant in most campgrounds but from time to time it is present. So take a moment to make sure your coach is secured before leaving it unattended. Don’t leave anything outside that you can’t do without or replace. Lock your towed vehicle when not using it as well. I always lock our towed when traveling and use a key for the ignition that has just the ignition key and not a FOB. We heard of a couple that stopped in a Walmart for the night and about 12:30 in the morning there was a knock at the door. A man asked the owner if he could move his coach up a few feet so he could get around. Being half asleep the RVer said sure and since the car was hooked to the coach he moved it up a few feet and went back to bed. The next morning when he went to check the towed, it was gone. Yes, he had left the keys inside and not locked it. He thought it was secured since it was hooked to the coach with the tow bar, which was on the ground still attached to the coach. He also remembered that the keys had house keys and the remote, the garage door opener was on the visor and his insurance card and registration were in the glove box. And of course his address was on the registration card. So, it may take a bit longer to secure everything but it just might be worth the effort. 
While talking about hooking up to the coach, I have a laminated card that I place on the steering wheel whenever I stop for the night and when I setup at a campground. It contains things to check before moving the coach, this is a result of extensive research, and OK, maybe it was from pulling off with the TV antenna up, awnings out, step out and so on.
  If you do an internet search on Campground Safety there are many sites from the FMCA, Center for Disease Control, National Park Service and KOA to name a few, that offer a wealth of information on campground safety and general camping safety. We have not covered everything regarding campground safety, but maybe this will get you thinking about safety as you travel this year.